Words of Hope: Thanksgiving

Dad was masterful at creating meaningful moments. At Thanksgiving, the TV would be off, there would be intentional time for grateful reflection, and there would be great food and laughter. During the Thanksgiving meal, we would talk about gratitudes from the year, and each person would be spotlighted at the table. We liked to have people outside our family over for Thanksgiving. One person we “adopted” as a family member is my dear friend and pseudo sister, Helen Higgs. She started doing Thanksgiving and Christmas with our family many years ago. Her family wasn’t close, and as a basketball coach, she didn’t have much time to fly home. Mom and Dad welcomed her into our family. My girls love Auntie Helen. She helps make every holiday complete.

If you came to our home for Thanksgiving, Dad would open with a prayer. As we dished up the meal, other family members would say things they were thankful for to God. Then we would select a key question such as, “Who is someone you learned from this year that you want to say you are thankful for? How does gratitude for God and family change your life right now? What do you think Christ is grateful for about you? What is a story of gratitude that touches you from literature?” Dad led these questions with peace and joy. After someone answered, we would spotlight this person. Sometimes we would pick an object in the room that reminded us of this person. Having a meaningful conversation at Thanksgiving gives a family life and abundant love. I am thankful I had a father full of wisdom and spiritual power. He didn’t shirk from this spiritual center or require others to lead. He didn’t run away to the TV. He didn’t act like this was boring. All my kids loved these meals. It was the opposite of boring because God was at the center.

“You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us, your generosity will result in thanksgiving and prayer.” – 2 Corinthians 9:11